LC Paper No. PWSC160/98-99
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council

Minutes of the nineteenth meeting
held at the Legislative Council Chamber
on Wednesday, 16 June 1999, at 8:30 am

Members present :

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Members absent :

Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr James HERD
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Mr Gordon SIU, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Mrs Stella HUNG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Works (Programme & Resources)

Director of Environmental Protection

Director of Highways

Ms Shirley LAM
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)

Regional Highway Engineer (New Territories), Highways Department

Chief Traffic Engineer (New Territories / East),Transport Department

Mr Davey CHUNG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (4)

Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department

Director of Drainage Services

Deputy Secretary (Environment), Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau

Chief Engineer/Consultants Management, Drainage Services Department

Principal Environment Protection Officer, (Water Policy and Planning Group)

Director of Territory Development

Director of Architectural Services

Mr Patrick LI
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

Assistant Director of Education (Planning and Research), Education Department

Project Manager/1, Housing Department

Ms Connie K Y YEUNG
Deputy Project Manager/Architectural 4, Housing Department

Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (1)

Mr John WAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (1),

Miss Yvonne CHOI
Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry (1)

Mrs Mimi BROWN
Deputy Government Property Administrator

Miss Viola CHAN
Principal Executive Officer (Administration), Trade and Industry Bureau

Mr Raymond WONG Hung-chiu, JP
Deputy Secretary for Security (1)

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management)

Mr Philip CHAN Kwan-yee
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security (E)

Mr KWOK Ka-keung
Director of Finance, Administration and Planning, Hong Kong Police Force

Chief Superintendent of Police (Planning and Development), Hong Kong Police Force

Clerk in attendance:

Miss Polly YEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8

1. Miss Emily LAU considered it undesirable to have to consider 16 agenda items in one long meeting. She said that such a heavy agenda would not allow careful deliberation of the agenda items. Dr Raymond HO was of the view that the agenda items should preferably be dealt with at two separate meetings of normal duration.

2. In this connection, the Chairman said that in anticipation of a heavy agenda, he had informed members at the last meeting about the need to start the next meeting early, probably at 9:30 am. However, the Administration subsequently advised that instead of some 12 items as originally scheduled, 16 items would need to be considered by this Subcommittee before the end of this legislative session. In view of these special circumstances, he had therefore agreed that the meeting should start at 8:30 am instead.

Public Works Subcommittee procedure


Proposed amendments to the Public Works Subcommittee procedure

3. Dr Raymond HO, Deputy Chairman of the Subcommittee, introduced the item.

4. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Upgrading of projects to Category A

Head 706 - Highways

PWSC(1999-2000)41 695TH Widening of Fo Tan Road and related improvement measures in Fo Tan

5. Miss Emily LAU referred to a suggestion by Mr LEE Wing-tat at the meeting of the Panel on Environmental Affairs (EA) on 11 June 1999 that in order to reduce the disposal of construction and demolition (C&D) waste at landfills, the Government might specify in the construction contracts for Government projects ways in which the contractors concerned were required to dispose of C&D waste. She enquired about the feasibility of early implementation of the suggestion and whether the arrangement could be applied to the projects to be considered at this meeting.

6. In response, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) assured members that the Administration placed high priority on the proper disposal of C&D waste and had undertaken at the aforesaid Panel meeting to actively formulate suitable measures to regulate the production and disposal of C&D waste pursuant to cost-effectiveness and environmental objectives. He confirmed that at present, a set of guidelines on the handling of C&D waste in Government projects was already in place and where appropriate, these guidelines would be incorporated into the construction contracts for Government projects. However, at the EA Panel meeting on 11 June 1999, it was agreed that more progressive measures to reduce the production and improve the handling of C&D waste should be explored. He considered that pending further consultation with the EA Panel on the Administration's package of measures in July 1999 and the implementation of agreed new or improved measures, the handling of C&D waste under new and on-going Government projects should follow the existing guidelines. Miss LAU urged the Administration to expedite its deliberation on the subject as the disposal of the bulk of C&D waste at landfills might incur unnecessarily high costs to the public.

7. In reply to Miss Emily LAU's enquiry about the unresolved objections to the proposed works referred to in paragraph 17(a) of the discussion paper, the Director of Highways (DHy) advised that the distance between the road section proposed to be widened and the nearest residential premises among those of the objectors in question was about five metres. As far as he understood, there was no planning standard governing the minimum distance between a road and the nearest residential premises. However, prevailing fire emergency operations required a minimum separation of 4.5 metres. The Administration also took note of Miss Emily LAU's comment that appropriate planning standards in this regard should be formulated.Admin.

8. As regards the provision of loading/unloading facilities along Fo Tan Road to serve the industries in the vicinity pursuant to the suggestion of an objector as referred to in paragraph 17(c) of the discussion paper, the Chief Traffic Engineer (New Territories East), Transport Department (CTE/NTE) pointed out that while the need for loading/unloading facilities would be taken into account in district transport planning, the current policy was to encourage loading and unloading activities to be carried out within industrial premises rather than on the roadside. Most of the existing industrial buildings in the Fo Tan district were initially provided with loading and unloading facilities. However, subsequent changes to the internal layout of some industrial buildings made it necessary for some of the loading and unloading activities to be carried out on the roadside. He confirmed that the Administration had agreed to modify the road scheme by providing lay-bys along Fo Tan road.

9. On Mr TAM Yiu-chung's concern about the provision of noise mitigation measures, the Regional Highway Engineer (New Territories), Highways Department advised that according to the relevant Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study, the installation of noise barriers along specific sections of the widened Fo Tan Road would reduce the noise impact on the affected residential premises from 85 decibels to below 70 decibels. As regards the traffic impact during the construction period, DHy confirmed that the existing number of operating lanes, i.e. two lanes in both directions, of Fo Tan Road would be maintained throughout the construction period. To achieve this, the contractor concerned would be required to complete the works on the new road sections first, so that traffic could be diverted to those sections when subsequent works at the connection points were carried out.

10. On the expected improvement to the traffic flow in Fo Tan Road, CTE/NTE advised that upon completion of the proposed widening works, there would be no tail backs at the junctions along Fo Tan Road and it would take about five minutes to drive through the road, as compared to 15 and 30 minutes in the years 2002 and 2006 respectively in the absence of any improvement.

11. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)42 37TR West Rail (phase 1) - essential public infrastructure works for Yuen Long section

12. As to how the concerns of the rural committees about possible noise nuisance and traffic impact created by the proposed essential public infrastructure works (EPIW) during construction would be addressed, the Government Engineer/Railway Development, Highways Department (GE/RD) advised that the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), to which the proposed EPIW would be entrusted, would require the contractor to implement environmental mitigation measures as recommended in the relevant EIA study. These measures included the use of low noise construction equipment, implementing works in sections to avoid undue noise impact, erection of temporary noise barriers as necessary to enclose the work area where noise intensive equipment was being operated, sprinkling water regularly on the works site to reduce dust nuisance, and restricting the speed of vehicles on entering and leaving the work site. KCRC would set up a monitoring team to monitor the implementation of these measures. As regards measures to alleviate the possible traffic impact, GE/RD informed members that for works involving the realignment and widening of existing roads, the contractor would be required to first complete the works on the new road sections so that traffic could be diverted to these sections when subsequent works at connection points were carried out. Other proposed EPIW would have minimal traffic impact and the contractor would be required to implement proper diversion schemes when road closure was required.

13. On the proposed noise barrier near Yuen Long Station, GE/RD advised that the barrier would be 35-metre long and 3-metre high and was designed to abate the future traffic noise impact of the proposed new access road on Nam Pin Wai. He informed members that insulated windows and air-conditioners would be provided for an existing school at Nam Pin Wai by KCRC and further noise mitigation measures as required would be implemented in the area under another project 278CL "Proposed roadworks for Kau Hui Development, Area 16, Yuen Long, Phase 1" to be undertaken by the Territory Development Department.

14. With regard to the noise barrier along Ping Ha Road, GE/RD explained that the proposed noise barrier of 135-metres long and 3-metres high was to abate the traffic noise impact on school premises being constructed on the sites adjacent to the road. Extension of the noise barrier to Tin Yiu Road was not necessary as the sites adjacent to the road had been designated for non-noise sensitive facilities (ball courts at present) and the impact on the residential buildings farther away from the road would not exceed the established noise impact criteria.

15. Mr TAM Yiu-chung enquired about the traffic noise impact on the residential developments along Long Yat Road after a section of the road was widened from a two-lane one-way to a five-lane two-way configuration as proposed in paragraph 3(a)(ii) of the discussion paper. GE/RD advised in reply that the detailed design for the road widening works and the related noise mitigation measures had not been finalized and hence this part of the project was proposed to be retained in Category B for upgrading to Category A at a later stage. He further informed members that the site east of Long Yat Road and the site south of the Long Yat Road/Castle Peak Road junction were designated as comprehensive development areas. According to the relevant EIA study, the noise impact on both the upper and lower storeys of the future residential high-rise buildings on these sites would exceed the established noise limit of 70 decibels. Noise barriers would not be effective in abating the traffic noise impact, while complete enclosure of the road section would not be feasible due to fire emergency requirements. Noise mitigation in the form of window glazing and air-conditioning would be required. GE/RD also advised Members that the Administration would follow up the matter with the developers concerned for details of the noise mitigation measures.

16. In connection with the provision of noise mitigation measures in road projects, Mr Edward HO requested and the Secretary for Works agreed to include in future proposals involving road works information on the designated land uses along the road(s) concerned and to provide cross section plans to indicate the distance between the road(s) concerned and the affected residential developments, as well as the height of the buildings. Admin.

17. As regards details of the five objections to the gazetted EPIW, GE/RD explained that of the three objections to EPIW associated with the Yuen Long Station, one objector had asked for a larger area of land to be resumed by the Government. The other two objections were raised by the New Yuen Long Centre Developer and Incorporated Owners concerning the change to the location of the exit/entrance of the centre on Long Yat Road due to the proposed closure of a section of the road south of the Yuen Long Station. The Administration considered that although the new exit/entrance would lead to a longer driving distance from the centre to Castle Peak Road, the overall situation was acceptable. He also assured members that the closed section of Long Yat Road would be maintained as a pedestrian walkway and a fire emergency access road. As regards the two objections to the EPIW associated with the Long Ping Station, one was related to the effect of the EPIW on development rights, and the other was raised by traders operating at an affected fish market. The latter objection had been resolved as KCRC had agreed to construct a temporary fish market for reprovisioning and the traders would move into the temporary fish market in early 2000. No objection to the EPIW associated with the Tin Shui Wai Station had been received.

18. In reply to Dr Raymond HO's queries on the arrangement of entrusting the proposed EPIW to KCRC, GE/RD advised that the EPIW would be incorporated into the contracts of KCRC for the construction of the West Rail (Phase 1) (WR(1)) stations. As both the EPIW and the station construction works were civil engineering works, the contractors to be engaged by KCRC would need to have the requisite expertise and experience for the EPIW. GE/RD confirmed that KCRC would award the contracts by open tender and that the tender assessment criteria of KCRC were similar to those of the Government. The Administration would take part in the assessment of tenders for the WR(1) contracts.

19. Responding to concerns about the estimated savings under the entrustment arrangement, GE/RD advised that the estimated savings of 10% of the estimated engineering cost would arise mainly from the economies of scale including lower costs for preliminaries and contract management costs. Dr Raymond HO said that while he supported the entrustment arrangement on account of more efficient works programming without - interface problems, he did not consider that the arrangement would necessarily lead to a 10% saving as claimed by the Administration. He pointed out that the tendering process of KCRC might not be as open as that of the Government since the former was more inclined to engage only large contractors which usually had higher overhead costs. He therefore commented that it might not be necessary or appropriate to state a precise figure on the estimated savings for entrustment projects. The Chairman nevertheless recalled that at times, such information had been requested by some members in connection with entrustment projects. GE/RD supplemented that as KCRC had divided the WR(1) project into a number of smaller works contracts, small and medium sized contractors would also be in a position to compete for the contracts on their own or by forming joint ventures. KCRC had also conducted a pre-qualification exercise for the WR(1) contracts and he understood that some local contractors of moderate size were -on the pre-qualified list.

20. Noting from the discussion paper that consultation with the Advisory Council on the Environment (ACE) and members of the public on the EIA report for the proposed road improvement works had not been carried out, Miss Emily LAU queried the reasons for not completing the consultation before submitting the proposal to this Subcommittee according to the normal arrangement for public works proposals. She also enquired about the time frame for the public consultation and the channels for public access to the EIA report.

21. In response, GE/RD explained that the EIA report was submitted to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) in May 1999 and was accepted by EPD on 9 June 1999 for onward submission to ACE and for public consultation. The public consultation would be completed by the end of August 1999 as consultation with ACE would take 60 days while 30 days would be allowed for members of the public to comment on the EIA report. The public could obtain the EIA report at the offices of EPD, District Offices of the Home Affairs Department, or through EPD's web site on the Internet. He further pointed out that the Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) came into operation when planning for the proposed EPIW was already half-way through. As a result, the EIA procedures for the proposed road improvement works (a designated project under the EIAO) could only be completed after this funding request in order to allow the proposed EPIW to commence in July 1999. This was necessary if the target commissioning of WR(1) by the year 2003 was to be met.

22. GE/RD further advised that with the proposed widening of Long Yat Road retained in Category B pending further examination of appropriate environmental mitigation measures, the Administration was confident that the environmental mitigation measures proposed for the other road improvement works under the present proposal were already very comprehensive. Additional conditions, if any, to be required under the EPD's Environmental Permit would likely be minor in nature, and the proposed project estimates should be sufficient to cover any additional expenditure arising from the environmental conditions imposed. He also reassured members that the EPIW would be carried outbuilt in strict compliance with any additional environmental conditions specified in the Environmental Permit.

23. The Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) advised that under the EIAO, an Environmental Permit was required before commencement of works which fell within the scope of the designated project concerned. These works should be carried out in strict compliance with the conditions of the Permit. He also confirmed that EPD would consider the views of ACE and those of the public in deciding whether to issue an Environmental Permit for the proposed works. Appropriate conditions would be attached to the Permit to ensure that environmental impacts were suitably mitigated.

24. Noting that the EIA procedures had not been completed but construction of the proposed EPIW might commence in July 1999, at which time the Environmental Permit required for the proposed road improvement works was still pending, Miss Emily LAU and Mr James TO were concerned that the EIA procedures prescribed in the EIAO had not been duly complied with if the project works were allowed to commence without the necessary Environmental Permit. On the timing for public consultation, Mr TO also pointed out that as the Administration would only conduct public consultation after funding had been approved, such an arrangement would give an impression that the community's views were not be being given due consideration.

25. Dr Raymond HO said that he appreciated the tight schedule of the WR(1) and the need for the proposed EPIW to tie in with this schedule under the entrustment arrangement but expressed grave concern about the special arrangement in this case. In response, GE/RD reiterated that any additional conditions that might be attached to the future Environmental Permit would be fully complied with in the execution of the road improvement works.

26. Mr Edward HO stated his view that as the EIA process was a statutory requirement, any part of the proposed works which constituted designated projects under the EIAO should not be carried out before the granting of an Environmental Permit.

27. In response to members' concerns, the Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (DS/Tsy) said that it was the normal practice for the Administration to complete all the necessary public consultation before submitting a proposal to this Subcommittee. However, for the present proposal, there was an urgent need to tie in with the project schedule of WR(1) and hence, the proposal had to be submitted before completion of the public consultation on the EIA report. She requested members to give due consideration to the fact that the EIA report had been accepted by EPD though the Environmental Permit for the works concerned was yet to be issued , and Highways Department's undertaking to ensure that all the conditions attached to the future Environmental Permit, which would reflect the results of the consultation with ACE and members of the public, would be fully complied with.

28. In this connection, SPEL re-affirmed the Administration's commitment to strictly comply with the spirit and the relevant provisions of the EIAO. He undertook to examine whether the consultation with ACE could be expedited. He would also separate those EPIW that required an Environmental Permit from other works which did not and would ensure that the former would not commence without an Environmental Permit.

29. On how the present proposal should be dealt with given that some statutory EIA procedures were still outstanding, DS/Tsy referred to the explanation given by the Administration earlier on and suggested that this Subcommittee make a decision on the proposal upon the Administration's assurance that all the relevant EIA procedures and conditions which might be attached to the future Environment Permit would be fully complied with before commencement of the proposed works. At the request of the Chairman, the Administration agreed to confirm in writing before the Finance Committee (FC) meeting scheduled to consider this item its undertaking regarding the outstanding EIA procedures for the proposed works.Admin.

30. The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU objected to the proposal and Mr James TO abstained.

31. Miss Emily LAU requested that this item be voted on separately at the relevant Finance Committee meeting.

PWSC(1999-2000)43 38TR West Rail (phase 1) - essential public infrastructure works for the Tuen Mun section

32. On concerns expressed by the Tuen Mun Provisional District Board on possible noise nuisance and traffic impact of the proposed works during construction, GE/RD advised that works for the proposed public transport interchanges, vehicular access ramps and footbridges would not affect existing traffic flows, while the works for the proposed road widening and re-configuration of a roundabout would be carried out with appropriate traffic diversion measures so as to maintain the same number of traffic lanes as at the present. As regards noise nuisance, GE/RD confirmed that the proposed EPIW, except for the road junction improvement works, would not constitute designated projects under the EIAO. However, mitigation measures would still be implemented to minimize noise nuisance during the construction stage. He added that construction of the proposed public transport interchange at San Fat Estate would only commence after the demolition of the estate by the Housing Department, while the existing developments to the west of the proposed roadbridge along Kin Fung Road were mainly industrial premises.

33. In reply to Miss Emily LAU's query about the outstanding EIA procedures required for the proposed road junction improvement works which constituted designated projects under the EIAO, SPEL confirmed that the Administration would make the same arrangements as in the case of PWSC(1999-2000)42. He undertook to confirm in writing before the relevant FC meeting the Administration's undertaking in this respect.Admin.

34. The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU objected to the proposal and Mr James TO abstained.

35. Miss Emily LAU requested that this item be voted on separately at the relevant FC meeting.

Head 704 - Drainage

PWSC(1999-2000)44 208DS Outlying Islands sewerage, stage 1, phase 1

36. At the invitation of the Chairman, Miss Christine LOH, Chairman of the EA Panel, informed members that the present proposal and the proposal on the sewerage and sewage treatment for Ting Kau and Shum Tseng under agenda item PWSC(1999-2000)54 had been discussed briefly at the EA Panel meeting on 11 June 1999. Panel members were given to understand that the proposed works were not aimed to upgrade the level of sewage treatment. She further reported that some Panel members had expressed reservation on whether the proposed facilities were sufficient and cost-effective. They had also expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of adequate information at the meeting to address their concerns, and had therefore requested to be provided with the relevant EIA reports. A letter and an executive summary of the report received from the Administration were circulated to Panel members and copied to all other non-Panel members on 14 June 1999.

37. The Director of Drainage Services (DDS) pointed out that the proposed sewerage works for Cheung Chau formed part of the Sewerage Master Plan for Outlying Islands. The relevant EIA study completed in 1997 concluded that there was no need to upgrade the treatment to secondary level at this stage but confirmed the findings of the Master Plan that the existing outfall should be extended. The present proposal covered the replacement of the existing submarine outfall and the upgrading of sludge dewatering facilities.

38. In reply to members' enquiry about the urgency of the present proposal, DDS advised that at present, the water quality around Cheung Chau was far from satisfactory as the existing outfall was rather short. He considered that the proposed facilities should be implemented without delay as the EIA report had been endorsed by the ACE. Miss LOH nevertheless pointed out that it was unacceptable for the Administration to urge members to endorse a proposal which involved substantial funding on the grounds that the relevant EIA report had been endorsed by ACE.

39. Taking note of members' comments, DS/Tsy acknowledged that the two proposals on sewerage works in question had been put to the EA Panel at a rather late stage. To allow sufficient time for the Administration to provide further information or take follow-up actions in response to the concerns and queries raised during the Panel discussion, she informed members that the Finance Bureau would ask the bureaux to brief the relevant Panel(s) on major funding proposals well in advance of the PWSC meeting so as to allow sufficient time to respond to members' concerns and provide supplementary information. She supplemented that bureaux would also be requested to include information on consultation with Panel(s) in the discussion paper for PWSC.Admin.

40. On why the discussion of the EA Panel was not mentioned in the discussion paper for this item, the Deputy Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (Environment) (DS/PEL(E)) explained that since the discussion paper for this item was issued before the EA Panel meeting on 11 June 1999, it was not feasible to incorporate into it a summary on the discussion of the Panel, unlike the paper on sewerage facilities for Ting Kau and Shum Tseng which had been issued after the Panel meeting.

41. Miss LOH requested and DS/PEL(E) agreed that when PWSC proposals were put to the EA Panel for consideration, the Administration would also make available the relevant EIA reports for the Panel's reference. Admin.

42. Miss Emily LAU also reiterated the need to provide sufficient time for Panel(s) to deliberate on the relevant policy issues before PWSC's consideration of a major funding proposal. Given that the concerns of Panel members had not been adequately addressed, she suggested that the Administration should withdraw the present proposal. Miss CHAN Yuen-han also suggested that this item and the following item on sewerage facilities for Ting Kau and Shum Tseng should be further discussed at the EA Panel.

43. In this connection, SPEL pointed out that there had been considerable discussion in LegCo on the level of treatment required to meet the water quality objectives. Whilst agreeing that issues related to the level of sewage treatment be further discussed at the relevant Panel, he invited members to consider the present two proposals, which had been drawn up on the basis of the existing policy, on their own merits.

44. Referring to a letter dated 14 June 1999 from SPEL (circulated to members together with the executive summary of the EIA report), Miss Christine LOH sought confirmation on whether the proposed sewerage treatment works would fulfil the relevant water quality objectives (WQOs). In reply, The Principal Environment Protection Officer (Water Policy and Planning Group) (PEPO/WPPG) advised that except for the WQO regarding the level of inorganic nitrogen, which could not be fulfilled in southern waters largely due to the flow of the Pearl River, the other WQOs could be fulfilled with the provision of the proposed sewerage facilities.

45. On the capacity of the existing sewage treatment plant, Miss LOH queried the Administration's assumption that the population in Cheung Chau would reduce rather than increase in the years up to 2011. In response, DS/PEL(E) advised that Cheung Chau had developed virtually to its full capacity, and he understood that there was no plan to increase the existing population of around 20 000. As regards the implication on the EIA conclusions in the event of an actual increase in the population of Cheung Chau, PEPO/WPPG said that according to the EIA study for the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme (SSDS), a higher level of sewage treatment would not have significant impact on the water quality as far as nitrogen was concerned. As the SSDS would handle the sewage from a population of several millions in the harbour area, the same conclusion would apply to Cheung Chau given its relatively small population.

46. Dr Raymond HO sought elaboration on the existing policy on determining the level of sewage treatment. DEP responded that the present proposal was concerned with a number of improvements to the sewerage facilities for Cheung Chau. The proposed improvements would meet the WQOs except that regarding nitrogen and implementation of these improvements would not preclude further consideration of an enhanced level of treatment for Cheung Chau. Dr Raymond HO however considered that the proposed improvements might not result in substantial improvement to water quality and expressed reservation on the reliability of the mathematical projections on the future flows and loads generated by the population of Cheung Chau in the EIA study. He therefore considered it necessary for members to further examine the cost-effectiveness of the proposed works before deciding on the funding request.

47. In response to Mr James TIEN's query on whether the investment in the proposed facilities would be abortive if the Government subsequently decided to implement a higher level of sewage treatment later or undertake further improvements not currently planned, DDS confirmed that the sludge dewatering facilities and outfall upon upgrading/replacement could still be utilized if further improvement works were implemented.

48. In view of members' queries and their request for more time to examine the present proposal, DS/Tsy said that the Administration would withdraw the proposal for further deliberation at the EA Panel.

49. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

PWSC(1999-2000)54 52DS Ting Kau development : sewerage and sewage treatment works including submarine outfall
126DS Sham Tseng sewerage and sewage treatment and disposal facilities

50. DS/Tsy said that as in the case of the previous proposal, the Administration would withdraw the present proposal to allow for further discussion at the EA Panel.

51. Dr Raymond HO considered that the present proposal had a degree of urgency. He recalled that members of the EA Panel did not specifically express reservation on the adequacy of the proposed works. In this connection, Miss Christine LOH commented that strictly speaking, both proposals were urgently needed on environmental grounds, but the present proposal involved even more complicated issues than the previous one. Miss Emily LAU considered that although sewage treatment facilities were overdue for the Ting Kau and Shum Tseng areas, further discussion at the EA Panel was required. She urged the Administration to arrange urgent discussion at the EA Panel and resubmit the proposals to this Subcommittee as soon as practicable.

52. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

Head 707 - New Towns and Urban Area Development

PWSC(1999-2000)45 29CD Main drainage channels for Ngau Tam Mei

53. On the implementation of the three conditions specified by the ACE upon endorsement of the relevant EIA study for the flood control projects in Yuen Long, Kam Tin and Ngau Tam Mei, DTD advised that the Agriculture and Fisheries Department (AFD) was carrying out a study on the restoration of old river channels and off-site wetland compensation. Specific measures to implement the conditions relating to rehabilitation of old river channels and off-site wetland compensation would be available upon completion of the study by end 2000. In response to Miss LAU's further query, DTD confirmed that the present proposal of constructing a main drainage channel in Ngau Tam Mei would not cover these conditions.

54. As regards the condition specified by ACE on the disposal of contaminated mud, DTD informed members that the key measures to be implemented included the use of a closed mechanical grab, no stockpiling of contaminated mud and proper disposal of dredged materials at the east of Sha Chau.

55. DTD clarified in reply to Mr Edward HO that the term "off-site compensation" in the English version of the discussion paper should read "off-site wetland compensation".

56. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Head 703 - Buildings

PWSC(1999-2000)48 233EP Fourth primary school in Whampoa Garden

57. Miss Emily LAU reiterated her concern that more new schools should be built as planned to meet the increase in demand for school places and to achieve the whole-day primary schooling target. In response, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower ( PAS/EM(2)) advised that of the total projected shortfall of 73 schools, 42 had been upgraded to Category A, one was pending approval by FC and three were to be considered at this meeting. The Administration was confident of completing the remaining new schools before the commencement of the school year 2002/03. He further advised that since a new primary school would normally take 18 months to build, the Administration planned to submit all proposals on the remaining new schools to the Finance Committee through PWSC by mid-2000. The Chairman urged the Administration to submit proposals on the outstanding school projects as soon as possible. DS/Tsy took note of members' concern and undertook to liaise closely with the Education and Manpower Bureau. Admin.

58. In reply to Mr SZETO Wah on why a 24-classroom school, instead of a 30-classroom school, was proposed, the Assistant Director of Education (Planning and Research) (AD/E(P&R)) confirmed that as far as practicable, 30-classroom new primary schools would be built. However, a 24-classroom school was proposed in this case mainly because of site constraints. He added that the proposed school was intended to facilitate the conversion of existing half-day schools to whole-day schools.

59. Noting that the roof of the assembly hall block would be used for student activities, Miss Emily LAU enquired about the feasibility of providing a cover over the area. Mr SZETO Wah opined that a covered playground was preferred to an open playground as schools often encountered the problem of insufficient playground areas on rainy days. In response, the Director of Architectural Services (DArchS) advised that providing a cover over the rooftop playground was technically feasible and the additional time and funds required could be accommodated within the proposed project estimates and construction schedule. AD/E(P&R) advised that the current design would enable students to play in the open air and there were sufficient cover areas for activities on rainy days. He however agreed to consult the School Facilities Users Group (SFUG), an advisory group to the Education Department, on the suggestion and report the decision to this Subcommittee.Admin.

60. Mr Edward HO suggested that relocating the parking spaces further east of their current sitting would provide a bigger open playground. In response, DArchS advised that the suggestion would not involve any technical problem and suitable arrangements could be made.

61. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)49 263EP Primary school at area 27, Tin Shui Wai

62. Mr Edward HO enquired about the feasibility of modifying the layout of the proposed primary school such that the facade of the classroom block would face Kingswood Villas, and therefore would not be subject to the traffic noise impact of Tin Shing Road. Miss Emily LAU supported Mr Edward HO's suggestion and urged the Administration to explore opportunities for improvements when planning new schools. In response, DArchS advised that the alternative of locating the classroom block as suggested by Mr HO had been explored but was not feasible due to site constraints. He however agreed to discuss the matter further with Mr HO after the meeting. Admin.

63. As in the case of the previous item, Miss Emily LAU requested and the Administration agreed to consider providing a cover over the rooftop playground of the proposed school and report the outcome to this Subcommittee following consultation with the SFUG. Admin.

64. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)50 264EP Second primary school in area 101, Tin Shui Wai, phase 2

65. As in the case of the previous two items, the Administration agreed to consider providing a cover over the rooftop playground of the proposed school and report the outcome to this Subcommittee.Admin.

66. In reply to Miss Emily LAU, DArchS said that the Estate Road adjacent to the school would be a private road and it was estimated that the traffic on the road would not generate significant noise impact on the school.

67. Referring to the layout of the proposed primary school, Miss Emily LAU questioned the appropriateness of separating the two basketball courts instead of positioning them adjacent to each other. Mr Edward HO opined that it was preferable to co-locate the two basketball courts to provide a bigger open playground for football and other games. In reply, DArchS advised that one major consideration for the current design was to provide two separate, though smaller, open playgrounds to allow more varied student activities concurrently. Another consideration was that co-locating the two basketball courts to the north of the assembly hall block might require both courts to be east-west oriented, while the present layout would allow one court to be north-east oriented which was preferred for basketball games. He added that the ground level of the assembly hall block was a covered playground with through access to both basketball courts. He nevertheless advised that it appeared to be technically feasible to co-locate the two basketball courts by moving the school blocks further south.

68. Taking note of members' views, AD/E(P&R) confirmed that the SFUG had been consulted on the general design of the school building. He however agreed to consult the Group on the proposed alternative of co-locating the two basketball courts, as well as the preferred layout for future schools with similar site conditions. The Administration would inform members before the relevant FC meeting if the SFUG had strong views on the proposal. Admin.

69. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(1999-2000)56 173SC Centre for Youth Development

70. At the request of Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam and with the concurrence of the Chairman, a verbatim transcript on the discussion of this item was prepared and attached at the Annex.

71. The item was put to vote. 11 members voted for the item, six voted against and one abstained.

Mr James TIEN Pei-chunMr Edward HO Sing-tin
Mr Eric LI Ka-cheungMr Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum
Miss CHAN Yuen-hanMr Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Mr WONG Yung-kanMr LAU Kong-wah
Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yeeMr TAM Yiu-chung
Dr TANG Siu-tong
(11 members)


Mr Albert HO Chun-yan
Mr LEE Wing-tat
Mr Fred LI Wah-ming
Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong
Mr SIN Chung-kai
Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
(6 members)


Miss Emily LAU Wai-hing (1 member)

72. The item was endorsed by the Subcommittee.

73. The Chairman suggested that this item be voted on separately at the relevant FC meeting.

PWSC(1999-2000)51 108KA Purchase and fitting-out of office accommodation for the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Brussels

74. Miss Emily LAU sought elaboration on the increase in workload and scope of activities of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office (HKETO) in Brussels as set out in paragraph 4 of the discussion paper. Specifically, she asked about the misconceptions which Member States of the European Union (EU) might have on the status and operations of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the reasons, if any, for the increased interest of the European media in the affairs of the HKSAR. In reply, the Deputy Secretary for Trade and Industry (1) (DS/TI(1)) advised the work of the Brussels Office had expanded in the past few years as the number of countries coming under its purview had increased. While it would be difficult to quantify the amount of interest in Hong Kong and misconceptions about Hong Kong by the public and private sectors and the media, a major task of the HKETO was to clarify for example, whether Hong Kong enjoyed autonomy in the conduct of economic and trade matters. She undertook to provide members with the first annual report of the European Commission on the HKSAR published after the reunification with the Mainland. This gave a very positive picture of the HKSAR and could be seen as the fruits of the efforts of the Brussels ETO. Regarding the increased interest of the European media in the affairs of HKSAR, DS/TI(1) pointed out that HKETO in Brussels had undertaken additional work to deal with the media.

75. In view of members' concern about the need to substantiate the increase in workload and scope of activities of the HKETO in Brussels, the Chairman suggested and DS/TI(1) agreed to provide further information on the justifications listed in the discussion paper together with a comparison to show the increase in workload and scope of activities, prior to the submission of the paper to the FC. Admin.

76. Mr James TINE expressed support for the proposal on account of the importance of promoting the trade and economic interests of Hong Kong amongst the Member States of EU. He concurred that misconceptions amongst these countries about Hong Kong did exist and could significantly affect Hong Kong's interests.

77. In reply to Mr James TIEN's request for further information on the prospective premises, DS/TI(1) informed members that the Administration had identified a stand-alone building with a net usable area of 868 square metres, 325 square metres larger than the net usable area of the existing office premises. As to why the unit price of the prospective premises was higher than that of the existing premises, DS/TI(1) pointed out that the existing premises were quite remote from the locations of the important bodies of EU, whereas the identified new premises was centrally located and within walking distance of these authorities. As regards the relatively low estimate for TIB the fitting-out costs, DS/TI(1) clarified that some fittings were already available at the new premises while the existing furniture and equipment would also be retained for use as far as possible.

78. Regarding the property price trend in Brussels, DS/TI(1) advised that according to property agents in Brussels, property prices in Brussels had been on the increase, though not significantly over the past few years. This however might not be reflected in Hong Kong dollars due to the higher exchange rate of the Hong Kong dollar to the Belgian Franc.

79. In response to Dr TANG Siu-tong's enquiry about the number of and expenditure on renting outside venues for organising activities in the past and the estimated savings in this regard upon moving into the new premises, DS/TI(1) undertook to obtain the relevant information from the HKETO in Brussels for members' reference. DS/TI(1) also confirmed that for the time being, there was no plan to increase the current establishment of 21 staff at the HKETO in Brussels. Admin.

80. The item was voted on and endorsed. Miss Emily LAU requested that her reservation on the proposal be recorded.

PWSC(1999-2000)55 235LP Improvements to Police stations and operational facilities

81. In reply to the Chairman, Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo and Mr Gary CHENG Kai-nam, members of the Security Panel, confirmed that the Administration had briefed the Panel on the proposal on 10 June 1999. They recapitulated that apart from the cost effectiveness of the proposed works, members of the Panel were also concerned about the service quality and attitudinal changes of the Police Force.

82. Addressing Mr LEE Wing-tat's concern about the feasibility of installing CCTV cameras in all interview rooms so that a video record was maintained for all interviews, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) (DC of P(Mgt)) reported that the number of completed and fully operational video interview rooms (VIRs) throughout the territory had been increased from 11 in 1997 to 60 by December 1998 and each major divisional police station now housed at least one VIR. However, having considered the resources incurred and the fact that not every suspect would give a statement during an interview, the Police had decided not to video-tape every interview. DC of P (Mgt) further advised that suspects involved in cases expected to be heard in the District Courts and the Court of First Instance were informed of the availability of VIRs and it would be up to them to accept or decline the use of such facilities. He pointed out that when a suspect so requested, VIRs could be used even for cases likely to be tried at lower courts.

83. Mr Andrew CHENG shared Mr LEE's concerns and opined that to ensure fairness to all suspects, the use of VIRs should be extended to interviews of all cases, not only those to be tried at the higher courts. In reply, DC of P (Mgt) reiterated the need to consider cost-effectiveness and the availability of the necessary equipment at the courts concerned. At the Chairman's request, he agreed to provide supplementary information on the resource implications of video-taping all interviews of suspects. Admin.

84. Mr LAU Kong-wah, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong and Miss Emily LAU shared similar concerns and urged the Administration to seriously consider the use of VIRs for all interviews of suspects, or at least to give all suspects a choice.

85. As regards public feedback towards the improvement initiatives implemented at the North Point Police Station as a pilot scheme, DC of P (Mgt) confirmed that the changes had been positively received by the local community. The number of complaints against the services of the North Point Police Station in the past two years had dropped from four to one. No complaint had been received in 1999 so far.

86. Recalling a past visit to the Yau Ma Tei Police Station, Miss Emily LAU expressed support in principle for improving facilities at Police stations to render better services to the public and to provide a better working environment for staff. She nevertheless cautioned that the crux of complaints against the Police was related to ill-treatment by Police officers and sought confirmation on whether the proposed improvements under the present project could address this problem. In response, DC of P (Mgt) assured members that the proposed improvements to various facilities, together with related measures to improve service quality and working attitudes, would bring about service improvement in the Police Force. Noting that other service improvement measures, which were outside the scope of the present proposal, had been discussed at previous meetings of the Security Panel, members agreed that they would refer to the relevant records of meetings.

87. Commenting on Mr Andrew CHENG Kar-foo's suggestion of improving the conditions of detention cells, notably the installation of CCTV, DC of P (Mgt) pointed out that the suggestion would infringe upon the privacy of the detainee since toilet facilities were built inside the cells. He considered the existing monitoring arrangement of putting a CCTV camera at the entrance of the cell adequate since all entries and exits would be recorded. Moreover, only the Duty Officer and his staff, not the investigation team, were authorised to enter the cells. DC of P (Mgt) further assured members that in the past 14 months, no complaint had been received about police harassment in detention cells. In reply to the Chairman, DC of P (Mgt) confirmed that issues related to detention facilities were being examined under a separate exercise. He agreed to provide further information on the time-frame of the said exercise. Admin.

88. In view of time constraint, the Chairman invited members to state their questions for the Administration to respond at a later meeting.

89. On the project implementation schedule, Mr LAU Kong-wah queried why Police stations in remote areas such as Tak Kwu Ling and Lok Ma Chau were scheduled last.

90. Dr Raymond HO expressed support in principle for the proposal. On tendering arrangements, he considered that the Administration should not tender the works under one single contract, or under individual contracts covering one Police station each. Instead, he suggested that the Administration should consider tendering the works packages under three separate contracts on a regional basis, for example, covering the regions of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories respectively. Dr HO also sought further information on the proposed provision of facilities for disabled persons.

91. Miss Emily LAU referred to a photograph (number 9) of a Report Room tabled at the meeting and questioned the effectiveness of the low partitions at the counter in enhancing privacy.

92. On costs and savings, Mr LEE Wing-tat asked how the average unit cost of $4,128 compared with those of other projects. He also sought further information on the extent to which the recurrent costs of the project that would be offset by the potential saving of 94 Police officers held on the establishment as Station Guards.

Any other business

93. Due to insufficient time, the Chairman advised that PWSC(1999-2000)55 and the remaining items on the agenda which had not been dealt with at this meeting would be carried over to a special meeting.

(Post-meeting note: The special meeting was subsequently scheduled to be held on 23 June 1999, at 10:45 am)

94. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.

Legislative Council Secretariat
30 June 1999


English version not yet available
Please refer to Chinese version